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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tagging - A leap into the unknown


I have just signed up to a bookmark tagging research experiment using the social bookmarking web application

I don't know fully what to expect and i have no preconceived idea as to what i will learn from the experiment, but i have a feeling that there is something of value in being a part of the experiment and i am hoping i will learn new insights into the use of tagging in respect of how it can be of use in a teaching and learning context.

Tagging is a relatively new way to categorize web pages on the Internet. Rather than saving web pages in a hierarchical fashion in folders and sub folders, by multiple tagging of a website you can search for tags and therefore web pages in as many different categories as you like (i seem to tag about 4-5 categories). With meaningful tags this should make it easier to find and retrieve.

In addition the use of social bookmarking websites such as, allows you to retrieve any tag (bookmark) from any machine, anywhere as it is a web based system. Websites tagged can also be made available to other world wide web users and a myriad of connections to users and their tags can be viewed.

So my interest in being a part of this research is that this process of social bookmarking (tagging) opens up possibilities for collaboration ,widening your own knowledge base and enhancing learning though group interaction.

Our task will be to tag over fifty web pages in five blocks of 10 pages over a 4-6 week period.

First Reaction
After tagging just the first two websites i have had couple of A-ha moments:

1. From a tagging point of view- i started with two tags stories and memories, after the second site i realized it would be more meaningful to tag with a category enhancement as WW2stories and WW2memories. I also included ww2 as a tag for both websites. I am not sure i need to do this as using the searching mechanism it will take me to any category starting with ww2 anyway.

2. It feels that there are learning activities that can be created from this. By being asked to tag the websites meaningfully, i am having to read the website with a little more detail and interest than i would normally. I think this can be used to get students to tag and then some kind of discussion can occur about the tagging afterwards. A thought that has come to me is that rather than tag descriptively, a group could be asked to tag emotionally and we could subsequently discuss what emotional tags where attached to a website article and the reasons why?

After completing the tagging of 10 websites, it seems that not all my tags seem to appear. I am assuming thee is a time delay before they appear otherwise it seems strange. Need to evaluate my naming strategy once i a more familiar with the tools available to me. For example the bundling of tags may be useful as part of a naming and categorizing strategy.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Hi Steve, interesting comments here.

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